Juicer harvests ahead as mango farmers combat pests
Mango farmers in Elgeyo Marakwet County can enjoy juicer harvests in the future thanks to a multi-agency push to eradicate fruit flies in the region.
The move, which is aimed at making the mango growing hub a Pest Free Area (PFA), is backed by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and Horticulture Directorate (HCD).
Speaking on Tuesday on the sidelines of a farmers’ training on pest control measures, the county’s Agriculture Minister Shadrack Yatich said that the potential of mango exports has not been exploited due to the pest menace.
“We are seriously engaging ourselves in training the farmers on how to counter the fruit flies which account for the rejection of upto 90% of the fruits exported,” said CEC Yatich.
The county executive committee member noted that many farmers have been gravely affected by the fruit flies, adding that some have lost their fortunes in the process. He cited these reasons as the motivation for the intervention.
Yatich urged farmers to put in practice the KEPHIS and HCD training adding that should they embrace the advanced pest-control methods, they could export their crops to European markets.
The hands-on training, which was held in Chepsirei in Soy South Ward, is targeted at improving the quality of the crop and minimizing losses.
In addition to the trainings and field days, the partners are also offering subsidy programme for farmers.
Agriculture is one of the pillars of Kenya’s economy and over 75% of the population making some of their living form the industry, according to Feed the Future.
Despite the large volume of people undertaking farming activities, productivity and commercialisation has been low. Factors that contribute to this trend include lack of mechanisation, use of substandard inputs, post-harvest loss and not using modernised agricultural practices.
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